Gold Coast Suns youngster Izak Rankine has missed a potential game-winning set shot as a thriller against Essendon finished in a draw.
Rankine took a mark right on the 50m arc inside the final minute, but failed to make the distance with his set shot, with both teams finishing level on 11. 7. (73) at Metricon Stadium.
However, it would take one last heroic defensive effort from Essendon’s Andy McGrath to secure the two points for the Bombers and keep its finals hopes alive.
After Rankine’s would-be goal attempt was spoiled to the ground, the ball fell to ex-Richmond premiership star Brandon Ellis, who attempted a snap from the boundary, before a despairing dive from McGrath saved the day for the Bombers.
The Suns were left shell-shocked after the final siren, with Stuart Dew’s side wondering what might have been after squandering a 22-point lead to a fast-finishing Bombers outfit.
Just as the match began to look out of reach in the final quarter, Essendon’s most experienced player, David Zaharakis, stood up with two huge goals.
Zaharakis incredibly kicked his second goal of the final term after popping his quad in his kicking leg, with the 30-year-old confirming the injury in an interview on Fox Footy after the win.
The draw leaves Essendon in ninth place on the ladder, just two adrift of the eighth placed GWS Giants, wile the Suns drop to 12th.
Both teams have a short turnaround before their next match, with Essendon set to face St Kilda on Sunday afternoon, while Gold Coast will face Richmond on Monday.